Casa Querétaro is a winning competition proposal for a multiple-unit rental-affordable housing project located at the corner of 17th Street and Damen in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The completed building consists of 45 units and ranges from 2-4 stories, with multiple community spaces, organized around a common entry courtyard.
In order to maximize accessibility with 100% visitability, the project was planned as a single building. The singular form, conceived as a structured ribbon organized to embrace a common courtyard, gestures toward the corner and addresses the scale of each street frontage uniquely. On Damen Avenue to the East, where there is less pedestrian activity and heavier traffic, the building is further set back, and angles away from the rail line to the north in order to face units back to the neighborhood and also minimize sound impact from passing trains. On 17th Street, the building regularizes itself to run parallel to the street in order to form a continuous streetscape. Particular attention was paid to the building's massing and materials; planar material changes and building volumes vary in scale from 2 to 4 stories to further relate and echo the scale and materials that make up the housing stock on the other side of the street. A single loaded corridor provides an acoustical buffer to the vast railroad right-of-way, which defines the northwest boundary of the site, while framing views out to the courtyard, as well as to the surrounding urban context, visually connecting the residents to the exterior.